Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Traffic Breakdown, Mathematical Probabilistic Approaches to

  • Boris S. KernerEmail author
  • Sergey L. Klenov
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_558-3


Effectual Bottleneck

An effectual bottleneck is a highway bottleneck at which an F → S transition (traffic breakdown) occurs during many days and years of empirical observations. Because only effectual bottlenecks are considered in the entry, the term bottleneck is used below for an effectual bottleneck.

Traffic Breakdown

Traffic breakdown is the onset of congested traffic in an initial free traffic flow. In highway traffic, traffic breakdown occurs mostly at effectual highway bottlenecks like on and off-ramps, roadworks, road gradients, reduction of road lanes, a slow moving vehicle (moving bottleneck), etc. Traffic breakdown results in the emergence of the synchronized flow phase of congested traffic, i.e., traffic breakdown is a phase transition from the free flow traffic phase to synchronized flow traffic phase at a bottleneck (F → S transition for short; F – free flow, S – synchronized flow). Thus, the terms traffic breakdown and an FS transitionare synonyms related...

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We thank our partners for their support in the project “MEC-View – Object detection for automated driving based on Mobile Edge Computing,”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics of Transport and TrafficUniversity Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsMoscow Institute of Physics and TechnologyMoscow RegionRussia